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Operations at Malaba border post to resume soon

The Principal Secretary for East African Community, Dr. Kevit Desai, the PS Transport, Solomon Kitungu and the Kenyan High Commissioner to Uganda, Amb. Kiema Kilonzo chairing a meeting to address the grievances raised by truck drivers at Malaba Border on Monday, May 25, 2020. Photo by KNA.
A section of truck drivers being calmed by police officers at Malaba border post while awaiting the outcome of a meeting by government officials and their representatives. Photo by KNA.

Operations at  Malaba Border  Post will soon normalize following the intervention by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP), Noor Gabow and his security team.

A spot check by KNA established that truck drivers along Bungoma-Malaba road who withdrew services five days ago, citing harassment by Ugandan authorities are currently working on some of the deflated vehicle tyres ready to proceed to Uganda.

Earlier, the drivers snubbed a plea to resume operations as the government addressed their grievances about harassment, stigmatization and inhumane treatment by Ugandan authorities.

They rejected an agreement reached on Monday between two Principal Secretaries and their representatives to end the five-day stalemate and instead demanded to be addressed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni.

The Transport Principal Secretary, Solomon Kitungu and his East  African Community (EAC) counterpart, Dr. Kevit Desai had urged them to proceed with their journey to Kampala after their grievances were partially addressed.

Speaking to the press after holding lengthy deliberations with officials of the drivers association, Kitungu said that most of the issues raised by the drivers had been resolved.

‘‘We came here to try and talk to the drivers and understand what issues they were facing and we have actually gone through them,” he said adding that some of the issues had been resolved.

Kitungu explained that the two governments had agreed that a Covid-19 certificate from either side should be recognized so that drivers are not subjected to testing twice.

He at the same time advised drivers claiming to have been mistreated by the Ugandan authorities to avail their personal details so that the claims could be ascertained.

The  EAC  PS urged the regional bloc member states to collaborate in handling issues surrounding COVID- 19.

“The disease has teething challenges and it is upon us to come up with systems of handling it,” he said.

He added that Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have had high-level discussions to ensure that trade continues among the cross border communities.

The meeting was attended by truck drivers’ officials, Busia County security team, Western Regional Security team and Kenya’s High  Commissioner to Uganda, Amb. Kiema Kilonzo.

By  Salome Alwanda

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